by Bernie Siegel, MD

I began to refer to God as a woman years ago when I saw how many survival qualities were feminine qualities. On the other hand we have to ask why did Eve eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge and get Adam to taste it also rather than the other way around? What is it about women that leads them to behave in a way that men have trouble dealing with or performing?

I would guess our creator knew that women are involved in relationships and completeness while men are busy doing and perfecting. So naturally Eve tastes the fruit as any child would, who is told not to do something, while the parents are away. Out of that taste we learn we are mortal and naked. The latter is not a problem to cover up but the former is.

However, out of the awareness of our mortality come the true lessons on living. So I am grateful to Eve for her act and openness to the serpents suggestions. Out of that experience I believe women have developed many more survival skills which relate to their lives having meaning. For men the meaning is most often in what they can do and when they can’t do they die. Women relate to people and, therefore, find meaning in their relationships no matter what their state of health. To quote two women, one with nine children, “I can’t die ‘till your all married and out of the house” and she lasted 23 years to do that. The other begged to be kept alive for her son’s wedding. Extreme measures were done and she was able to leave the hospital and go to the wedding in a wheel chair. Upon her return everyone expected her to get into bed and die. Instead she announced as she was wheeled off the elevator, “Don’t forget I’ve got another son.”

Married men live longer than single men and have less lung cancer then single men who smoke just as many cigarettes. Women with the same cancers as men live longer. Some oncologists will tell you that estrogen and progesterone must be protecting the women and sleeping with it is protecting the men. Just kidding. The truth is again the survival value of the feminine qualities.

One thing, however, I am concerned about is that after the kids leave home what is the meaning of a mother’s life. I see men die when they retire and women when the kids leave home. So each of us must ask how would you introduce yourself to God. Mother, lawyer, Dad etc.. doesn’t get you in. When you realize your authentic self and divine nature God says come on in. Then your survival is not dependent upon the role you are playing but the life you are living.

Someday I hope we will all develop our feminine and masculine qualities. In my book Prescriptions For Living I refer to it as marrying yourself. When you become a complete human being and not a human doing you achieve the life intended for you and will live the longest healthiest life you are capable of.

Until that day there is no question that women are the stronger sex. My wife, Bobbie, does comedy and several of her one liners come to mind. “Women who think they are equal to men lack ambition. Women have to accomplish twice as much as men to be recognized, but that’s not hard and behind every successful woman there’s a man who is sulking.” For the men, “Women aren’t perfect three quarters of all women can’t understand fractions and the other half doesn’t give a damn.”

So develop your whole self but remember the meaning of life is not in how many things you can fix but how many lives you can touch.